Returning to the Land: An Alumni Reflection on the Trent Temagami Colloquium

James Cullingham made the journey the Trent Temagami Colloquium back in the early 70s. He returned again this year and documented the event on his blog. It a wonderful glimpse into what has become one of Trent’s oldest traditions – a tradition that continues to reintroduce members of the university community to the land that houses us.

They have gathered at Sandy Inlet on the north end of Lake Temagami each autumn for the last 45 years. An evolving cast of activists, cultural workers, historians, environmentalists and students concerned with Indigenous rights and Canadian and Environmental studies meet at Camp Wanapitei in N'Dakimenan, the homeland of the Teme Augama Anishnabai some 450 kilometers north of Toronto…

I first attended the sessions as a Trent University undergraduate in 1973. That was a personal epiphany and motivating boost - first of all towards a degree in Native Studies and French and subsequently a journalistic and academic career that has frequently concentrated on issues pertaining to Indigenous peoples and history. Over the intervening years, I have been fortunate to forge strong a friendship with Wanapitei's long time directors Bruce and Carol Hodgins and other members of the camp community.  I have also witnessed the long term and ongoing struggle of the Teme Augama Anishnabai to achieve social and economic justice in their own lands. I have learned a great deal along the trail, particularly from my friend former Chief Gary Potts who led a courageous battle for social justice and human rights in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Read the whole story on James' Tamarack Productions blog.

Tamarack Productions has been producing award-winning documentaries since 1989. Its first production, the documentary series As Long As The Rivers Flow, has been broadcast and distributed around the world. The series garnered over twenty international awards, including The Public Jury Award at The Nyon Documentary Film Festival and the Producer's Award at The American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Since its inception, Tamarack Productions has worked to establish a solid reputation as a provider of documentaries about social justice, history, popular culture and politics.

James Cullingham is an educator, award winning documentary filmmaker, a widely published writer and seasoned national broadcaster. He is a professor of journalism and English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College (Seneca@York) in Toronto. He has served as an executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and has made documentaries in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan.His documentary films have been screened around the world. Cullingham has been published by Canada’s leading newspapers and magazines.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario with an Honour’s Degree in Native Studies and French.

The Trent Temagami Colloquium is sponsored by several academic programs at Trent and the Bruce and Carol Hodgins Fund. It seeks to examine and experience our understanding of the land with a focus on the study of Canadian, environmental, and Indigenous issues. This unique event celebrates interdisciplinary, experiential learning.


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